I’m Imperfect. And That’s Okay.

This false life of never enough permeates every aspect of our culture. When we pick out what to wear to school we ask, “Will others notice me?” When we step into the locker room to change out for sports we compare our body with that of others. When we get report cards… sports awards… drama or music evaluations… We are never enough. And when we do excel, there’s always some way we can (and “should”) improve.

This never enough culture consumes us with shame. We feel that we are never enough and so we believe that we are not enough.

Jesus Ruined My Senior Year

It was a Saturday night and I was completely alone. I had cash in my pocket and gas in my truck but I had no friends anymore. The phone was not ringing. The silence was a deafening reminder to how ‘sad’ my social life had become in a very short amount of time. This had never happened to me in my previous three years of high school. My senior year was supposed to be epic! Instead it was growing increasingly lonely and there was only one person to blame: Jesus.

Remembering God: 5 Tips to Keep Your Faith Alive

Whenever you begin to feel the temptation to sin and you don’t have those accountable people around, have an alternative activity that is your “go to.” You’ll have to do it right away. When you’re tempted to look at someone and judge them, think to yourself, “They are a child of God.” It’s important to train or condition yourself to avoid sin, so you might have to start by making a conscious effort to think that about every single person you see. Maybe you are a musician, and you grab your guitar or your drumsticks.

Confessions of a Catholic Missionary

I’m often faced with a heart that is racing and sweaty palms when I’m sitting in the presence of the Lord because I question if this was right. But just at that moment he whispers “Hey, look at me! I’m right here; don’t run from me I’m not done with you yet.” In that moment of clarity, I stare at Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament I feel all the weight life off my shoulders. This choice I have made is right because it’s exactly what Jesus is asking of me right now.

Everyday Evangelization: Locker-bays and Catacombs

The word “evangelization” reminds me of a time I was ambushed in a parking lot. One summer afternoon I was sitting in the parking lot of Starbucks with my windows rolled down, ready to pull out. I had my iced coffee, I buckled my seatbelt, turned on my country music, glanced in my rearview mirror […]

Pitch Imperfect

Last week, as soon as Mass ended, the sweet little old lady sitting in front of me loudly announced to anyone within earshot that I (apparently) sing off-key. Totally shocked, I responded, “Well, I guess that’s why I’m out here, and not back there in the choir loft.” Listen, lady, I never promised you perfection from the pew behind you.

7 Ways to Simplify Your Faith Life

Life is messy. We’ve got so much to worry about, so many things to juggle at once. And all the while an intimidating little beast called “the future” keeps knocking at our door, reminding us of all the things we’ve got to do right… or else.

I think somewhere along the way, we all lose sight of what matters. We become more intrigued by the words on a screen than by the words in our Bible. We become more concerned about the relationships we have with people around us than with the One who created us.

Leaving for College and Heading to Heaven

Your faith isn’t your Mom and Dad’s thing anymore. If you have questions, search for the answers, I promise you they’re there! It’s up to you to respond to the invitation from Christ to draw nearer to Him. College can be one of the most spiritually transformative times in your life. If you give these next four years to Christ, He’s going to give you back more than you ever dreamed of receiving.

My Heart Can Hope Again

The reason behind my anxiety was that of a former soldier. It was just in 2011 I was on a patrol in Afghanistan. With our armored vehicles pinned between a high flowing river and a road that had just given out. We had dismounted to set perimeters on the heights around us as well as check the layout. But none the less, we were sitting ducks and this was a perfect place for an ambush. The ride there had already shot my nerves. We had gotten Intel that the Taliban had been very present there as well as the road side bombs that accompanied them.

4 Things I Learned When I Saw Pope Francis

This summer I had the opportunity to go to Campobasso, Italy as the youth ambassador and representative for the United States, to meeting of Italian immigrant descendants from the Italian region of Molise. I was excited to learn about my heritage, but I became ecstatic when I learned Pope Francis would be in Campobasso during […]

3 Simple Steps for Continual Conversion

If you are a sinner like me, you sin all the time. This calls for continuous conversion or continually turning your heart away from sin and toward God. St. John Paul The Great says “We ourselves are to be converted anew every day.” So here are three simple steps to help your continual growth and conversion toward Christ.

Shattering My Disbelief

The other day, my youth minister threw my phone out of a (moving) car window. It was his way of teaching me to be “in the world but not of it.” He’s a tough-luck kind of guy. Just kidding. He did throw my phone out the window, but it was an accident. I was shocked. […]

Heroic Masculinity

If we want to understand masculinity, we have to understand God’s original purpose for it. When God created the first man, Adam, He gave him three very important tasks: Adam needed to cultivate life in the garden, he was charged by God to help create new life, and he was the garden’s protector.

Thrive: Summer, Structure, and Your Spiritual Life

Summer is here. Hallelujah! I know you are enjoying putting the stress and monotony of the school year behind you.

But before you slow down too much remember this: If we want to continue growing spiritually during the summer we must maintain some routine and order. Any type of growth, especially spiritual growth, requires structure.

If we want to come to know the Lord, if we want to become the saints He designed us to be, we need to stop choosing the easy path, the comfortable path. We must step up and establish some order.

Playing with Empty Hands: Christy’s Story

When she would shoot, it was always a swoosh. When she dribbled, it was between the legs and around the back. And when it was a no-look pass, it was the slickest alley-oop you’d ever seen. Or in this case imagined. At 34 years old and a whopping 4 foot 6, she was our determined Down Syndrome winner of hearts and the star of every imaginary game she had ever played in our family room back home.

Now What?: Advice for After a Youth Conference

When you wake up, you look at your floor, strewn with t-shirts, phone numbers of friends, and your journal. You remember the moments that challenged you, the resolutions you made to make changes in your life: to delete the songs on your computer, to change who you hang out with, and to basically be the Mother Theresa of the tenth grade.

Beyond the Surface Level

But of course we all need help. Time and time again, God reminds me that it is through my brokenness that Christ’s love will penetrate into the depths of my heart. And, I have come to learn that it’s through our brokenness that we are able to know others better. If we don’t allow our vulnerabilities to show, then other people may think that we don’t need them or care about them.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

And not only was he my teacher; he was a mentor, an inspiration in my faith life, and someone from whom I had often sought theological advice. How fitting, then, that he was there that evening to make physical God’s promise to uphold my right hand — and the right hand of each member of my beloved class.

When God makes promises, I learned, it’s anything but a metaphor.

How to Win at LTLC: Getting the Most Out of Your Week

The biggest thing I learned from last year at LTLC was to get out of my comfort zone. Whether that means being more open to prayer and allowing Christ in your life, or going out of your way to say hi to other people. I’m a naturally shy person, but once you get to know me I won’t shut up.